bride and groom standing together looking at each other

Wedding Pictures

Couples often consider when the best time for wedding photos will be. Some couple want to save time after the ceremony and do all the photos before then. Others want to keep things more traditional and have all the photos done after the ceremony. Should you take photos before or after the ceremony?

In this post, I’ll talk about some of the pros and cons of taking pictures at different times for different groups.

bride and groom holding hands walking down a dirt path at sunset

No Group Photos

The traditional method of taking wedding photos is to do all the photos after the ceremony. This lets the bride and groom focus fully on getting ready. They won’t need to worry about making time for photos or wondering where their family members are.

Most couples I work with do a version of this method. It really takes a lot of stress out of the day for them and allows them to really focus on the wedding.

Partial Wedding Party

The most common method among my couples is to do some group photos before the ceremony, if time allows. When there is no first look, this means all the girls, then all the guys after the girls are back inside, out of sight.

This allows me to get the majority of the wedding party photos done before the ceremony and can save about 15 minutes for the reception later. If you want group photos before the ceremony, be sure to let the photographer know in advance. They will use this information to plan the photography timeline for the day.

bride with groom and wedding party pose in front of the Kaleidoscope Inn
groom dipping bride with the wedding party on the stairs in the background at CaliPaso Winery

Full Wedding Party Photos

When the bride and groom have a first look, we can get the photos of the entire wedding party before the ceremony, saving 20-30 minutes before the reception. This can help when you are expecting a lot of family photos after the ceremony. It’s also great when you aren’t sure about some of the wedding party and how cooperative they might be in a few hours.

Typically, when we plan to do all the wedding party photos before the ceremony, we end up needing to do a few extras after the ceremony. I’m very time-conscious when it comes to having the bride and groom tucked away before wedding guests arrive.

All Formal Wedding Photos

The final option for wedding photos before the ceremony is to do all the formal photos. This includes the entire wedding party and all family photos. I’ve been asked to do this only a handful of times over the years and I really don’t recommend it.

This approach requires all family members to arrive at least an hour before the ceremony. For most people, this arrival time works just fine. But we all have those few family members who are fashionably late to every event they have ever been to. Having even one person missing can mean we need to take the photo again after the ceremony. This is not only inconvenient for all the other people in the photo, but can disrupt the entire timeline of the day.

This method also means that your family will need to wait quite a bit longer before the ceremony than other guests. In my experience, this results in guests leaving early as they become tired faster after the ceremony. However, if this is a priority to you, it will become my priority as well. While it is more difficult to do photos this way, it can certainly be done.

bride and groom kissing in a field with oak trees

Before or After…

Whether you choose to have your photos done before or after the ceremony, or even a combination of the two, you’re bound to have amazing wedding photos.

Talk to your photographer about your wishes. She’ll offer some ideas and together you can make a plan that best suits your wedding and your photo desires.

bride and groom laughing in an open field

Spanish Oaks Ranch Wedding

See a beautiful summer wedding at Spanish Oaks Ranch in Santa Margarita, CA.

bride and groom laughing in the spray from a champagne bottle

Santa Barbara Courthouse Weddings

If you’re looking for a no-hassle wedding venue, the Santa Barbara Courthouse is an extremely affordable option (some options are even free!) and a gorgeous location.

bride and groom standing on a short wall with palm trees and the Santa Barbara Courthouse behind them

Courthouse Elopement

See a recent elopement at the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

See more about Spanish Oaks Ranch and schedule a visit at

Similar Posts